17 Rules Every Dad Must Know When Dressing His Daughter

Dressing a 2-year old girl shouldn't be that difficult, after all, I've been successfully dressing myself for three decades (give or take the few years my mom and dad took charge). With my choice in color, style and overall look, I think it's safe to say I have the fashion sense of blind manatee. And even then, that may be an insult to manatees.

When I'm charged with the task of dressing either of my daughters, I abide by the two rules every guy uses to dress himself: one article must have a neck-hole and the other must cover the crotch. These rules are simple, easy to remember and will keep you from violating any state laws.

My wife, on the other hand, has 17 rules for dressing our daughters. They are complicated, confusing and intimidating. (They are also endorsed by the League of Female Manatee.) These rules were not pulled out of a hat—though, to any normal human being, they might look that way. The basics were crafted centuries ago and have been adapted by each generation of wife/mother. While slight details may change from household to household, the essence of each rule is in tact.

But let's be honest: 17 rules are too many for any dad to remember; after all, dads' minds are only programmed to retain things like baseball statistics, what-beats-what in poker and which flavor of snow cone is the best (lemon lime). Even Einstein couldn't remember his wife's set of rules for dressing their daughter. And if he—father of e=mc2—couldn't do it, how could women expect us regular dads—who don't even know what e=mc2 means—to cope with so many rules.

In order to avoid future problems, I wrote the rules down on a little cheat sheet that I keep hidden in the top drawer of each daughter's bedroom. I reference it every morning. Since I started doing this, my wife and I stopped fighting about clothing, which has opened up some valuable free time that we now dedicate to fighting about societal value of the "I'm So Excited" episode of "Saved by the Bell." (And yes, there totally is some.)

So, without further ado, the 17 rules for dressing my daughters are as follows:

1. Clothes need to match—in color and style, not in "type of animal on them."
2. Diapers must go on under tights, not over.
3. A shirt with a ketchup stain does not "have red in it."
4. No matter how you dice it, vertical stripes on a shirt do not match horizontal stripes on pants.
5. Shorts are not a year-round option.
6. No socks with sandals (this rule also applies to dressing dad).
7. Bowls are not hats.
8. Pants are not hats.
9. Underwear are not…you get the picture.
10. Adam committed original sin when he ate the apple. His second sin was dressing his daughter in white after Labor Day.
11. Daughters in matching outfits are cute. Dad and daughters in matching Megadeth tees are not.
12. Changing from PJs into another set of PJs is not "dressing her."
13. Wristbands are not "part of an outfit."
14. If she wears her Jay Bruce Reds baseball jersey on Monday, she can't wear it again for at least 10 business days.
15. She also can't wear the other 11 Reds jerseys you bought her.
16. Grunge is dead. So are you if you dress my baby in it.
17. And finally... if you have to sniff it, it's off limits.

There you have it. The list of rules every father must have. Print it out. Tuck it away under the mattress. Hang it from the ceiling. Stuff it down your shorts. But most important, keep a copy in every room.

You'll find it more useful than e=mc2.

The Life of Dad is updated every other Friday (barring the call of family duties). Thanks for stopping by and following my attempts to be a good dad, husband and co-ed softball player. I hope you visit again. -- Brian

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